Clare Drake

Bachelor of Physical Education, 1951

Clare Drake is one of UBC Kinesiology’s most acclaimed graduates. A native of Saskatchewan, Clare, in 1947, chose to come to UBC because of its newly-created Kinesiology program – the first such program in Western Canada. For four years Drake was a star Thunderbird hockey player playing on some very good teams including the 1949/50 team that is inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. Following his graduation from UBC in 1951 Drake completed several post-graduate degrees before establishing himself as a hockey player and later coach and Kinesiology professor at the University of Alberta.

Beginning in 1958, Drake’s U of A coaching career would become “legendary.” He coached the Golden Bears hockey team to sixteen Canada West championships and six CIS national titles, recording a total of 622 victories. He was the first university coach in Canadian history to record 500 victories and it is reported he is the winningest coach in the history of North American university hockey. Drake coached Canada’s entry in the Aherne Cup to gold in 1965, the FISU Games team to gold in 1981 and coached Canada to its first Spengler Cup European tournament championship in 1984.

Drake also coached professional hockey as the Edmonton Oilers called upon his services as head coach for three years and later the Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach for three seasons. He also, co-coached, with Father David Bauer, Canada’s hockey team at the 1980 Olympics.

For three years Alberta’s football team was also the beneficiary of Drake’s coaching and in 1967 he guided it to a Vanier Cup victory, thereby becoming the only coach to win both a CIS football and hockey championship.

One of the “deans” of Canadian university coaches, Drake has authored several hockey coaching articles and has received honours from the CIS, CHA and the University of Alberta whose hockey arena bears his name. He is an inductee in the Alberta Provincial Hall of Fame and in 1989 was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. We can say the roots of this impressive resume can be traced back to UBC.

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Written by Fred Hume, UBC Historian